(and satellite operations)
Ballymaloe House and its satellites are some operation and well worth a visit, or two. Basically, you find the main entrance to Ballymaloe House on a right angled bend as you come from the Cloyne direction. A mile or so further on, in the village of Shanagarry, more or less opposite the church, you find the left turn that will take you to the Ballymaloe Cookery School and its gardens.
We start the tour at Ballymaloe House today. Go through the sturdy pillars and drive the narrow tarmac track towards the old ivy covered house. Just a couple of things to remember as you approach the car parks. This is a working farm – watch out for tractors and so on. It is also an area of leisure – watch out for stray golf balls as the course is very near the house.
So, you want to eat. Why else would you be coming? Then, you have a choice. You may have lunch in the house which will cost you 40 euro or in the cafe where it will cost about half that, prices are more or less normal, but the cafe is small. If you want to book dinner at the house, the tariff is 70 euro.
Maybe you just want to shop. You are in the right place. The Ballymaloe ShopBallymaloe Shop, in a cottage type building, has loads of Irish crafts, a well stocked kitchen room and also a food section where you may buy their own products and those of others.
Interested in the arts? Then stroll over to the Grain Store. There may well be an exhibition going on here. Maybe it’s the conference you have come for? Will you be here this evening? For the concert? If you do stay overnight, then there is a range of accommodation for you.
Okay, so I’ve lost some passengers. But we have enough to carry on. Back to the entrance and we head for the village of Shanagarry, take the sharp turn left and then we turn off the road to the right and arrive at the world famous Cookery School.
Here you may book a course or indeed may view a demonstration. But, whether it is for an afternoon or a few months, you need to book in advance. Surprisingly, with the school at hand, there is no cafe here but you may buy food in the Farm Shop, a much bigger selection than in the shop at the House.
Right, we go out the back of the shop and past the Cookery School and head for the gardens. As you walk through at the start, you’ll see the naturalness of this lovely place, the old hens scratching round and the fruit bushes battling against the bugs without the aid of pesticides.
The gardens are beautifully kept, with different sections. I know you’ll enjoy strolling through the Herb Garden but you may well agree with me that the Herbaceous Border is the highlight. Maybe not. But we won't argue at the end of a very enjoyable tour.
Eating out in Cork: http://corkfood.blogspot.com/